Immigration: CDU leader Merz calls for more returns of migrants

CDU leader Merz calls for more repatriations of migrants

Friedrich Merz, CDU federal chairman, during a press statement in Berlin.  Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

Friedrich Merz, CDU federal chairman, during a press statement in Berlin. photo

© Michael Kappeler/dpa

Germany urgently needs well-trained workers. The government now wants to increasingly recruit them abroad. The CDU boss is bothered by the fact that many migrants without a right to stay do not leave the country.

The debate about recruiting foreign skilled workers is throbbing CDU-Boss Friedrich Merz on bringing more rejected asylum seekers out of the country at the same time. There are currently around 300,000 people in Germany who are obliged to leave the country, he told the “Rheinische Post” (Thursday). “The federal government has promised the citizens a repatriation offensive. So far, there hasn’t been one.”

returns, i.e. mostly deportations, often fail due to practical obstacles, such as missing identity papers. There is also often a lack of cooperation between the countries of origin. A deportation freeze also applies to a number of countries, such as Syria and Afghanistan.

Merz: “Something has to change”

In 2021, almost 165,000 asylum seekers were registered and almost 12,000 people were deported. In the first corona-In 2020 there were 10,800 deported people, in 2019 a good 22,000 and in 2018 around 23,500.

To the, in his eyes, sluggish return of migrants Merz said: “Something has to change.” The population’s acceptance of immigrants, “which we need,” will only be maintained if both are done: targeted immigration into the labor market and the repatriation of those who have no prospects in Germany.

The coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens and FDP states: “Not everyone who comes to us can stay. We are launching a repatriation offensive to implement departures more consistently, in particular the deportation of criminals and people who are dangerous.”

According to the central register of foreigners, 301,524 people were required to leave the country at the end of June, of which 247,290 were tolerated.

At the same time, Merz said that Germany has long been an immigration country, “and we need a lot of people who want to work with us”. There is a particular demand for skilled workers, from research to nursing.

In order to attract more workers to Germany, the federal government wants to simplify the rules for entry and the recognition of professional qualifications. A corresponding plan was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday. Selection criteria should be professional experience or a connection to Germany.

“Chances-Right of Residence” in planning

In addition, the planned “opportunity right of residence” should offer a perspective to well-integrated foreigners who have been living in Germany for years without a secure status. The previous “chain tolerance” should be ended.

The federal government also wants to lower the hurdles for naturalization and promote German citizenship among foreigners who have been living here for a longer period of time. The Bundestag is debating these plans by Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) this Thursday.

Criticism of Merz and the course of the CDU in the migration debate came from the Greens. The deputy leader of the parliamentary group, Andreas Audretsch, told the German Press Agency that he advised the CDU leader “to talk less to the culture fighters of the union of values ​​and more to entrepreneurs”. The Union of Values ​​is a conservative organization. “The politics of the CDU is cold and exclusionary and at the same time a danger for Germany as a business location.”

The Union had massively criticized the traffic light’s migration course, especially the plans for easier naturalization. Parliamentary Managing Director Thorsten Frei (CDU) had also rejected the planned points system, which would give skilled workers a right of residence to look for a job.

Loss of prosperity and gaps in the pension fund

The President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Peter Adrian, said that in the case of the immigration of skilled workers, English must also be accepted as an entry requirement in addition to German. He told the newspapers of the Bayern media group: “You can get a long way in many companies with English.” It is also important to quickly remove hurdles in issuing visas. The consulates abroad would have to issue the required documents faster and with less bureaucracy.

According to the Institute for Labor Market and Vocational Research, there will be a shortage of seven million skilled workers by 2035. The federal government warns not only of a loss of prosperity, but also of gaps in the pension fund if more people don’t come.

Verdi boss Frank Werneke told the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” and the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten” that not only skilled workers should be considered, but all workers. The strategy will only be successful if Germany becomes a more immigrant-friendly society with fair and collectively protected working conditions. At the same time, the federal government must ensure that existing potential is used – and, for example, improve the prospects of the long-term unemployed or the compatibility of family and work.


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